Lonely Planet Writer

Aruba and AirBnb make historic partnership to manage tourism development on the island

Crowd-sourced accommodation businesses have been taking the travel industry by storm, upending the traditional hotel model to offer diverse options in both form and price.

Abandoned boat on Palm Beach, Aruba.
Abandoned boat on Palm Beach, Aruba.

In some places, like New York City, such initiatives have met resistance, but other destinations are welcoming brands like Airbnb in hope of appealing to new types of travellers looking for budget-friendly, independent options. Largely the domain of all-inclusive resorts and expansive international hotels, the Caribbean might seem like an unusual place for Airbnb to focus its attention, but Aruba is becoming the first in the region to embrace its accommodation strategy.

The Aruba Tourism Authority and Airbnb have signed an agreement that will allow the two entities to jointly address the issues of taxes and regulation; this contract is the first of its kind between Airbnb and a Caribbean country. According to a press release from the ATA, there are currently 1360 Airbnb listings across Aruba, and these lodgings are a significant form of income for their owners, garnering an average of $4400 per year.

According to ATA’s chief executive officer Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, Aruba is the second most tourism-reliant country in the world, and the agreement is aimed to create a balance of accommodations on the island, and to increase promotion of Aruba as a destination. In a press release on ATA’s website, Asjoe-Croes says, “Aruba embraces the shared economy and is eager to formalise the first partnership in our region with Airbnb. Together as industry leaders, we will add value to authentic travel experiences while ensuring this on-island development is managed successfully.”